Top 9 Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

by Last updated Feb 25, 2022Homepage, Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motor accidents happen for a diverse number of reasons. Some of these may be largely unavoidable, like sudden, unexpected bad weather. Others, however, may happen due to a person’s mistake. Here’s some information on why motorcycle accidents happen and what the consequences often are.


Just like with cars, speeding is often the leading cause of motorcycle accidents. The NHTSA reported that 33 percent of all riders that had a fatal accident were speeding. This was 19 percent for regular cars, 15 for light truck operators, and just 7 percent for those driving a large truck. The difficulty of driving a motorcycle is the reason why it is up to 4 times more likely that you’ll be in a fatal accident in or with a motorcycle as opposed to a regular car.

Motorcycles are flexible, cost less, and can reach a significant speed in a relatively short amount of time. These characteristics make them more appealing to consumers, but they also raise the difficulty of operating them. The faster you drive a motorcycle up to a high speed, the more difficult it’s going to be to account for changes in the road ahead of you.

That’s why, in years where there are five to six thousand motorcycle deaths nationwide, driving over the speed limit is often the cause of nearly two thousand of them.


According to the NHTSA, around 43 percent of all motorcycle crashes involved alcohol in the past. The amount is now closer to 28%, due to recent efforts, but that is still high. Motorcycles classically take more skill and focus to operate than a normal motor vehicle. You have to properly balance the bike while you’re riding it, you have to lean into turns properly, wear the right equipment, and so on.

Those who ride while drunk are much more likely to get into an accident as a result. Alcohol simply slows reaction times down too much.

When you combine this statistic with the fact that over 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, you have a dangerous combination. The reason for this is that there’s no head protection for the user during a motorcycle crash, especially the ones that go airborne.

Operators who chose not to wear a helmet increase their risk in this way even more.

In 2017, over 5,100 people were killed driving motorcycles in the U.S. Most of these were drivers, with just under 300 being passengers. Florida was the state with the most motorcycle deaths at 550.

Miami is a particularly dangerous place for motorcycle drivers.

Combining these statistics, the deaths from just intoxicated driving is going to be well over 1200 or so per year.

Top 9 Causes of Motorcycle Accident

Splitting Lanes

This practice is also sometimes called “weaving.” A bike driver will move around traffic through tight spaces, especially during traffic jams.

The temptation with motorcycles is to drive between two lanes to beat traffic. There are many states where this is illegal, although Florida is not currently one of them. Beating traffic jams by going between lanes is an obvious temptation due to the thin nature of motorbikes compared to cars, but it doesn’t take much for an accident to occur while you’re doing this. All someone else has to do is open a door or move a bit in their lane for tragedy to occur.

The tight fit between cars makes it so that motorcycles have little room for error while driving, especially if they are doing it at speed, which is often the case.

There’s also the fact that the outcome isn’t necessarily going to be dependent on the bike operator. Other drivers of passenger vehicles aren’t generally expecting for there to be driving that close to them between lanes. They often come to think of the lanes as their space only and may not put any effort into making sure that their vehicle is not drifting to the outside of the lane.

Instead, they will focus on just not leaving the lane completely.

Lane Changes

When drivers change lanes, they could miss a motorcycle due to how easily a bike can fit into a blind spot. If another driver isn’t checking their blind spots, then a collision is a likely possibility. Checking blind spots is what motorists are supposed to do when changing lines.

Poor Training

The NHTSA estimates that one in three motorbike drivers don’t have the right licensing. This is important because the state licensing programs for those riding bikes are the only way that any government can check to make sure that a driver is properly trained. Training is particularly important given the added difficulty of driving a motorcycle in comparison with a regular car.

Left Turns

It’s common for operators to make a mistake when making a left turn. This is due to confusion about who has the right of way. It can also happen due to people not measuring distance properly, especially if they are unused to sharing the road with bikes.

Poor Road Conditions

Sometimes the condition of the road makes a big difference for accidents. Since motorbikes are lighter than other vehicles, it doesn’t take much to throw a bike off its traction. Causes connected to this include roads that have extra potholes or pavement that is crumbling. There could be debris in the road from construction, for example. There could be a lack of signs or signal machines to direct traffic properly.

There could certainly be a liability in this case if a contractor was supposed to finish their project by a certain time and didn’t. They could have worked when they weren’t supposed to or failed to keep the road safe if they were tasked with that responsibility.

If a lawyer advises you that someone may have liability in terms of creating a cause for your accident, you may be able to seek damages against them, dependent entirely on the situation. You will need a lawyer you trust for this evaluation, however.

Faulty Equipment

Some accidents can be caused when a part in your bike simply doesn’t perform the way it should. There are often expectations for part performance that a bike must meet legally or according to the manufacturer. If a part fails when it shouldn’t, there may be a liability on behalf of the manufacturer or some other party.

It is true that faulty equipment cases often create a more complex situation than what happens with an accident where the fault is determined by human error for driving decisions since it adds a third party into the mix.

Motorcycles carry an inherent risk with them, but there are lines that manufacturers aren’t supposed to cross.

Just about any part in a bike can potentially fail, but some of the most common part failures include the following-


Defective tires are a huge cause of accidents given the nature of a motorbike. A tire exploding on the road, for example, leads to an accident a huge amount of the time since it’s difficult to maintain control with only one working tire, to say the least.


Just like with passenger vehicles, a brake problem can cause a major crash easily. This is especially the case since many motorcyclists are accelerating and decelerating often. Brakes and tires will determine a huge amount of control that an operator has in general.

Fuel Systems

If there’s a problem with a fuel system in a bike, an operator can actually get potentially burned from using it. It can also cause bikes to not work properly while the bike is in motion, which is a sure method for the operator to lose control.

Other potential defective parts include a design that makes it accident-prone, helmets that aren’t protecting your head properly, and many others as well. It’s important to get the advice of a lawyer to determine where liability might lie with defective parts.


There’s no doubt that weather certainly plays its part in motorcycle accidents. However, it’s worth noting that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 97% of fatalities occurred in clear weather in the U.S. During the year 2017.

No one is really responsible for the weather, especially if it comes upon you quickly and there were adequate warnings about the danger due to there being sharp turns on a particular road, the possibility of muddy conditions, or anything like that.

Not all situations will have a liability that you can pursue damages, but it is true that many might. If there’s any question about this situation, it is definitely worth consulting a trustworthy lawyer to see if there may be a way forward for your case.

Consult With A Motorcycle Accident Attorney If Injured

Motorcycle accidents are exceedingly common, and it’s often the case that it’s a mistake that a person made that caused it. However, this is not always the case, and the only way to be sure is to consult a motorcycle accident lawyer who will know where a situation may imply a liability that you can use to recover medical and other costs to your bike, for example.

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